Australian news, and some related international items

World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015′ (WNISR) has been released.

[from Steve Kidd – a pro nuclear writer!] We have learned one thing for certain: it’s a lot easier to shut a reactor down than to build a new one. There are alternatives to nuclear for power generation and the competition is getting continuously stiffer.

“Hence well-researched and articulate critiques against the concept of any nuclear growth … such as the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report, are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

“The optimistic view that nuclear will eventually take up the substantial place allocated for it in energy scenarios that mitigate climate change … holds increasingly little water.”

radiation-sign-sadhighly-recommendedNuclear power’s long farewell? Jim Green, Chain Reaction #125, Nov 2015. The ‘World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015’ (WNISR) has been released.1 These annual reports provide a vast amount of useful information about the global nuclear industry and useful summaries of the development of renewable energy. Here are the key findings.

Reactor operation. 31 countries operate nuclear power plants. A total of 391 reactors have a combined installed capacity of 337 gigawatts. The total of 391 reactors excludes the 42 reactors in Japan that have been shut down, only some of which will restart (two restarted in mid-2015). Even including all the Japanese reactors, there are fewer reactors than there were a decade ago.
Industry in decline: The 391 operating reactors are 47 fewer than the 2002 peak of 438, while the total installed capacity peaked in 2010 at 367 GW and has since declined by 8% to 337 GW. Annual nuclear electricity generation reached 2,410 terrawatt-hours (TWh) in 2014 − a 2.2% increase over the previous year, but 9.4% below the historic peak in 2006.

Share in power mix. The nuclear share of the world’s power generation remained stable over the past three years, with 10.8% in 2014 after declining steadily from a historic peak of 17.6% in 1996. Nuclear power’s share of global commercial primary energy production also remained stable at 4.4%, the lowest level since 1984.
Reactor age. The mean age of the world operating nuclear reactor fleet continues to rise, and by mid-2015 stood at 28.8 years. Over half of the total, or 199 reactors, have operated for more than 30 years, including 54 that have run for over 40 years. One third (33) of the US reactors have operated for more than 40 years. Continue reading

October 29, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Minister For Nuclear soon to release shortlist for waste dump site

Seven locations make nuclear waste dump shortlist October 29, 2015, James Massola

Frydenburg, JoshResources Minister Josh Frydenberg is poised to release a shortlist of sites that could play host to a permanent nuclear waste storage facility in Australia.

Fairfax Media has been told the shortlist contains seven possible locations for the facility and had been finalised and approved by the Abbott government before Ian Macfarlane was replaced as Resources Minister by Mr Frydenberg.

The list of sites was originally scheduled to be released by August. Mr Frydenberg now intends to release the short list by the end of the year, after consulting with local MPs affected the decision, the opposition and other stakeholders over the politically sensitive issue.

Two locations in South Australia’s Kimba shire, west of Port Augusta, and two in Western Australia, at Leonora, north of Kalgoorlie and Yalgoo, north of Perth, have voluntarily nominated to be considered for the shortlist, while a proposal for the facility to be located at Mt Isa, in remote Queensland, was recently advanced. The full list of possible locations is a tightly held secret.

Once the shortlist has been released, a further period of public consultations will begin before a preferred site is identified in mid-2016, with a detailed business case due in mid-2017 and construction and operation of the facility due by the end of the decade.

The pending decision on the waste facility comes amid renewed debate on a possible future nuclear industry in Australia.

The facility will store low and intermediate-level radioactive waste from Lucas Heights and Australian-produced waste that had been sent to France, the United States and Britain between 1996 and 2009, which is to be returned under an international agreement.

An interim facility has been constructed at Lucas Heights to hold waste being sent back to Australia. A general purpose cargo ship called the BBC Shanghai is currently en route to Port Kembla from the French port of Cherbourg carrying 25 tonnes of waste and is due to arrive at the end of the month. The waste aboard that ship will then be driven to the Lucas Heights facility.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull went further on Wednesday, suggesting that many Australians had a “perfectly reasonable” view that said “we have got the uranium, we mine it, why don’t we process it, turn it into the fuel rods, lease it to people overseas, when they are done, we bring them back and we have got stable, very stable geology in remote locations and a stable political environment”.

“That is a business that you could well imagine here.”

South Australian Labor Premier Jay Weatherill has an ongoing royal commission into the nuclear industry.

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s anti-nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney, who was also a member of the government’s advisory panel on the permanent waste facility, said achieving consent from residents of whatever area was selected for the site was crucial.

“Successive governments have failed to realise the importance of this [consent], or to achieve it. We are at the point of the process now, which is the test of the government’s commitment to community inclusion and having social licence to do this,” he said.

“We believe there is no environmental or public health reason to rush this [site selection]. The majority of the waste is currently in secured federal facilities and we need to take the time to get it right.”

October 29, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Opportunity for Port Augusta to be repowered with solar thermal energy

map solar south-australiaRepower Port Augusta, 30 Oct 15 In incredibly exciting news, after returning from a visit to a massive solar thermal plant in the United States, the federal local member for Port Augusta Rowan Ramsey has revealed to The Transcontinental that US solar thermal giant SolarReserve have made a bid to build solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta!

 After a long running community campaign, numerous studies and actions from people like you this revelation is a huge step forward in the community driven push to Repower Port Augusta with solar thermal.

 So, what does this mean?

 The ACT Government are using a policy called a reverse auction to help them meet their 100% renewable energy target by 2025. This is a policy where they effectively bid for projects to buy renewable power from and early this year they called for bids from projects across the country from solar with stoage.

 This is the policy we called on the SA Government to adopt in our submission to the state government that many of you signed onto.

 We are still waiting on the result of the bid, but we know the bid for solar thermal from Port Augusta is one of thirty from across the country.

 Can you share this great news on Facebook and call on the State and Federal Government to back SolarReserve’s bid to build solar thermal in Port Augusta?

 It’s a huge step forward and a testament to the community campaign backed by people across the country that SolarReserve are ready to build solar thermal in Port Augusta.

October 29, 2015 Posted by | solar, South Australia | 1 Comment

Renewables 2015: Global Status Report

renewable-energy-pictureThe renewable energy revolution Renewables 2015: Global Status Report

The REN21 ‘Renewables 2015: Global Status Report’ details the striking growth of renewables over the past decade.1 Renewable energy provided an estimated 19.1% of global final energy consumption in 2013, and growth in capacity and generation continued to expand in 2014. Heating capacity grew at a steady pace, and the production of biofuels for transport increased.

The most rapid growth, and the largest increase in capacity, occurred in the power sector, led by wind, solar PV, and hydropower. Renewables accounted for approximately 59% of net additions to global power capacity in 2014, with significant growth in all regions of the world.

Global renewable power capacity − excluding hydro − grew eight-fold from 85 gigawatts (GW) in 2004 to 657 GW in 2014. Solar PV capacity has grown at a phenomenal rate, from 2.6 GW in 2004 to 177 GW in 2014. Over the same period wind power capacity increased from 48 GW to 370 GW.

Global renewable power capacity − including hydro − more than doubled from 800 GW in 2004 to 1,712 GW in 2014 (an estimated 27.7% of the world’s power generating capacity in 2014).

In 2014, total installed renewable capacity (including hydro) increased by 8.5%, compared to 0.6% for nuclear power. Hydro capacity rose by 3.6% while other renewables collectively grew nearly 18%.

By way of sharp contrast, nuclear power has flatlined for the past two decades. Global nuclear power capacity was 365 GW in 2004 and 376 GW in 2014, and the number of reactors declined from 443 to 439 over that period.2 Renewable capacity (including hydro) of 1,712 GW is 4.6 times greater than nuclear capacity of 376 GW. Continue reading

October 29, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Prince Charles to Australia to speak on climate change

Map Turnbull climatePrince Charles pushes for a carbon price before his visit to Australia, SMH, October 30, 2015  Nick Miller London: Prince Charles has said putting a price on carbon is a vital part of addressing climate change, setting him on a potential collision course with his hosts during his November visit to Australia.

Last year Australia became the first developed nation to repeal a carbon price scheme.

The Prince of Wales, for decades a campaigner for conservation and ecological causes, has emerged as a keen mediator on climate change in the lead-up to December’s COP21 in Paris – the United Nations summit intended to draw up a new global climate change action plan.

On Thursday in London he convened a high-level meeting on deforestation and climate change at Lancaster House, next door to the prince’s home and office, Clarence House……

The prince is due to speak on climate change on November 12 in Sydney, at a roundtable discussion hosted by CISL.

The day before he will meet with new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra…….

October 29, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Bikini Island first atomic bombed, now threatened by climate change

climate-changeExiled by nuclear tests, now threatened by climate change, Bikini islanders seek refuge in U.S.  By Sarah Kaplan On the morning of July 1, 1946, a second sun rose over the remote Pacific island chain of Bikini Atoll.


The world’s fourth atomic bomb had just been detonated over the area with an “unearthly brilliance that petrified observers,” wrote the Washington Post reporter at the scene.A hundred miles away, from a ship just off the shore of tiny Rongerik Atoll, Bikini’s former residents watched a mushroom cloud form over the place that had been their home. Now it was a bomb site, shrouded in toxic nuclear fallout that would render it uninhabitable. The Bikini islanders didn’t know that yet; they had agreed to a series of nuclear tests on their islands believing they would be able to return as soon as the experiments ended.

Instead, they began a decades-long nomadic existence that would see Bikini islanders starve on atolls too small and sparse to sustain them and sicken from lingering radiation on others. The tiny community would be relocated five times in as many decades before settling elsewhere in the Marshall Islands. Some islanders watch warily as scientists re-evaluate their old home. Others have tried to move on, settle down.

But their bad luck just won’t let them. Now, they say, the rising seas and brutal storms brought on by climate change have rendered their new homes uninhabitable. On Wednesday, Marshallese Foreign Minister Tony de Brumwill meet with members of Congress and ask for a change in the terms of the fund that was set up to help Bikini islanders resettle. Currently, the fund can only be used to help them buy property in the Marshall Islands, but they’re giving up on the Pacific entirely. They want to come to the U.S. instead.

“Kili [is] uninhabitable because of climate change,” de Brum told the BBCTuesday, referring to the tiny island where about 700 people now live. Continue reading

October 29, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seed – Indigenous Youth Declaration for Climate Justice

“As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people we are a part of the oldest continuing culture in the world and have lived in harmony with our land for generations.

Right now climate change is disproportionately affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We are experiencing rising sea levels in the Torres Strait, the loss of sacred country, diminishing food and water accessibility.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the injustices go beyond the climate impacts. The fossil fuel industry has been putting stress on our land, our culture and our communities for decades.
Our vision is for a just and sustainable future with strong cultures and communities, powered by renewable energy. Our vision and the fossil fuel industry cannot co­exist.  … “

October 29, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s legal action against coal port at Abbot Point

justiceSeed – Risking the Reef Campaign
“Right now, there’s currently a proposal to build the  world’s biggest coal port on the Great Barrier Reef at Abbot Point. If built it would unlock the Galilee basin  – one of the largest reserves of coal in the world.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are already facing the impacts of climate change today, we need to be moving beyond coal and gas and transitioning to clean renewable energy, not digging up more of our sacred land. This means ensuring the proposed Abbot Point port expansion,
subsequent railway line and coal mines don’t go ahead. …

The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners have launched a legal case in the Federal Court to reject this project. …  We’re sending a clear message to the banks that if they invest  in reef and climate destruction, then were dumping them. …
Take action now by heading to “

October 29, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

China’s nuclear programme – not safe. not cheap

Just how safe is China anyway? Now if China had a fantastic record of safety in its construction and other industries, maybe the odds should be made a bit longer….

Cheap? Some scepticism is in order How do we know what these reactors really cost? The fact is, we don’t. With China’s nuclear corporations under the control of various organs of state including the Communist Party and the Peoples Liberation Army, official statistics and accounts can simply not be relied upon…..

Nuclear construction in China must be cheaper than in the US and Europe due to lower labour costs. But if it really is that much cheaper it can only be at a huge safety penalty……

Tsunami risk – not if but when…….

The only good news in all this is that nuclear construction in China is not proceeding anything like as fast as Forbes magazine claims. Most of the more modern ‘Generation III’ reactors are well behind in their completion times, echoing the European experience with the failed EPR design.

Fukuzilla? China’s nuclear boom threatens global catastrophe Oliver Tickell 28th October 2015 


China’s plans for 400 nuclear reactors threaten global catastrophe, writes Oliver Tickell. In the normal way of things we could expect major accidents every few years, but with 300 reactors along China’s seismically active coast, a major tsunami would be a Fukushima on steroids – wiping out much of China and contaminating the whole planet. Continue reading

October 29, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Fijian PM slams Turnbull for giving in to climate denialists

ocean-heatingFiji PM decries Australia’s ‘climate change deniers’ in Turnbull cabinet, Guardian, , 28 Oct 15,  Frank Bainimarama says: ‘The Australian government, in particular, seems intent on putting its own immediate economic interests first’ The prime minister of Fiji has delivered a blistering broadside at his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, over the “climate change deniers” in his government who are helping doom Australia’s “unlucky island neighbours”.

Frank Bainimarama criticised Australia and New Zealand for failing to back Pacific island nations over climate change, claiming that the entire region risked being wiped out by rising sea levels, extreme weather and ruined agriculture.

“The Australian government, in particular, seems intent on putting its own immediate economic interests first,” Bainimarama said in a speech delivered in Nadi, Fiji. “The ‘lucky country’ determined to stay lucky, at least for the short term, at the expense of its unlucky island neighbours.

“To Malcolm Turnbull, the new Australian prime minister, I want to send a special plea. Make good on your previous strong stance in favour of deep and binding cuts in carbon emissions. Do not do deals with those who have enabled you to gain high office and betray your principles and our position.”

Bainimarama said Turnbull should halt new coalmines in Australia and embrace an economy based on clean energy. Such a ban has been proposed by a coalition of Pacific nations in the recent Suva declaration. Continue reading

October 29, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Film CONTAINMENT – Melbourne November 11

see-this.wayCan we contain some of the deadliest, most long-lasting substances ever produced? Left over from the Cold War are a hundred million gallons of radioactive sludge, covering vast radioactive lands. Governments around the world, desperate to protect future generations, have begun imagining society 10,000 years from now in order to create monuments that will speak across the time. Part observational essay filmed in weapons plants, Fukushima and deep underground − and part graphic novel −Containment weaves between an uneasy present and an imaginative, troubled far future, exploring the idea that over millennia, nothing stays put.

Directors / Producers Peter Galison and Robb Moss will participate in an interactive discussion along with national nuclear-free campaigners following the film screening.

Wednesday, November 11, 7pm to 9pm
Loop: 23 Meyers Place, Melbourne (off Bourke St)
To book tickets:
$10 concession / $15 waged / $25 solidarity

See the trailer here.
Share the facebook event here.

October 29, 2015 Posted by | ACTION, Audiovisual | Leave a comment

USA environmental groups fight Trans Pacific Partnership

antnuke-relevantThey demanded that the enforcement mechanisms be strong and meaningful and that the rights of foreign investors to challenge domestic environmental laws be struck out.

Several green groups outline demands for Pacific trade pact, The Hill, Flag-USA By Timothy Cama and Vicki Needham – 10/29/15

Trans-Pacific-PartnershipMore than a dozen environmental and conservation groups on Thursday laid out eight pages of demands that they say lawmakers must use to judge the strength of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

The groups, led by the Sierra Club, are sending a letter to members of Congress well in advance of an expected vote on the sweeping Asia-Pacific deal that was completed nearly a month ago with 11 other nations, according to the document first obtained by The Hill. The groups are urging a “no” vote on the 12-nation deal if the TPP doesn’t address their concerns. Continue reading

October 29, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

PM Turnbull’s deceptive answers on coal and climate change – Senator Larissa Waters

Waters,-Larissa-Senator-1Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Deputy Leader & climate change spokesperson: 
PM dodges coal moratorium question and says coal will relieve energy poverty 27 Oct 15:

“The Prime Minister has failed to properly respond to today’s admirable call by 61 eminent Australians for an international moratorium on new coal mines to be negotiated at the Paris climate talks. Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson, said:

“The group of eminent Australians are calling for an  international moratorium on new coal mines and for this to be put on the agenda in Paris. “But when asked about the call, the Prime Minister
mischaracterised it as one for ending existing coal mining in Australia, and avoided answering the real call for no additional, new coal mines.

“Australians deserve more than a Prime Minister who sidesteps questions about our future and that of our children and our Pacific neighbours. Coal must not be treated as the elephant in the room at the climate talks.
“Standing next to our new chief scientist, who had just  outlined his vision for a zero emissions future, the Prime Minister repeated the coal lobby’s mantra that coal will relieve energy poverty, which is factually incorrect given the lack of electricity grid and the expense of coal.

“In contradiction, the Prime Minister then correctly said in developing countries where people are not connected to the grid, solar was a cheaper option than coal. … “

October 29, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Barrier Reef to become a fossil fuel highway – Senator Larissa Waters

Waters,-Larissa-Senator-1Qld Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Deputy Leader & climate change spokesperson: 
Abbot Point EIS confirms Palaszczuk Government’s agenda to turn Reef into a coal highway 27 Oct 15:

“The Palaszczuk Government’s lodgement of the Abbot Point  coal port expansion final Environmental Impact Statement  with Minister Hunt today, confirms it’s forging ahead with  its agenda to turn the Great Barrier Reef into a fossil fuel  highway.

“The Palaszczuk Government is continuing to do Adani’s dirty  work for it,” Qld Senator Larissa Waters Australian Greens  Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson, said.  “Labor has paid for this environmental impact statement with  taxpayers money, when usually the company itself foots the
“And now Labor is set to pay for the dredging in this World Heritage Area to create one of the biggest coal ports in the  world, which will turn the Reef into a highway for coal ships.
“There’s no guarantee we will get this money back – Adani is  mortgaged to the hilt and hasn’t attracted any finance for its  Carmichael coal mine. In fact 14 banks internationally have  ruled out financing it. …

“Queenslanders care deeply about our Great Barrier Reef and  halting global warming. The unprecedented amount of public  submissions to the EIS, at 55 000, is testament to
Queenslanders’ love for the Reef.  “So many Queenslanders are deeply disappointed that the
Palaszczuk Government has turned out to be just as bad as the  Newman Government when it comes to treating our Reef as a  highway for climate-destroying fossil fuels,”  Senator Waters said.”

Senator Larissa Waters,
Australian Greens Deputy Leader & environment spokesperson

October 29, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Electricity from renewables in Germany almost double amount from nuclear

sun-championflag_germanyRenewable Energy In Germany Generated Almost Double The Amount From Nuclear by  Originally published on Solar Love.

PV solar power generation in Germany is already 5% higher in the first nine months of this year than all of last year. Germany’s PV systems generated 33,193 gigawatt hours of solar electricity through the end of September, according to the German Association of Energy and Water Industries. Wind power in the first nine months of 2015 has generated 52% more than it did in all of 2014. 59,006 gigawatt hours has been produced, according to the same source.

114,723 gigawatt hours of electricity in Germany came from renewable sources in the first nine months of 2015, which was almost double the amount produced from nuclear sources. Additionally, some electricity prices have decreased from the previous year. For example, the cost of peak load power is nearly at 2002 levels.

This is all good news….the crazy thing about it is that you probably won’t hear about it anywhere but niche news sites like this one. This media oversight is a tragic deficiency, but the fact that Germany has come so far so rapidly confirms the effectiveness of renewables. This is not a small country like Costa Rica achieving 100% electricity from renewables for two months for 4.8 million people. Germany’s population is about 80 million!

Switching gradually from nuclear to renewables for such a large nation is very obviously a tremendous undertaking. How far along the path is Germany now? Some might say it won’t and can’t happen soon, but it seems to be progressing well.

Given that the price of PV solar power systems continues to drop, will there be an even greater acceleration in the rate of solar adoption? Price has been one of the major barriers, but is no longer nearly as much a factor. Another has been the lack of backup power or energy storage, but that one is being diminished too by the fact that the energy storage industry is growing quickly.

It should be pointed out that the decision to decrease reliance on nuclear power and increase investment in renewables was done before the most dramatic drop in solar power and the emergence of energy storage  solutions. It will be fascinating to see how much more German renewable energy will grow in the next several years.

October 29, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment